The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Can’t Win ‘Em All, I Guess

Today I was a 6th grade English/Language Arts teacher at Franklin Middle School in Champaign. I was originally assigned to teach 4th grade at Lincoln Trail Elementary School in Mahomet, but the assignment was cancelled at 5 am and I was lucky enough to catch something new this morning. So I was teaching the same subject that I was teaching yesterday. And, like yesterday, I was in the library all day. Strange how that happens.

I am getting used to the fact that the majority of students seem to think that I am the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t know what’s so cool about sliced bread, but the fact remains: they love me. I should poll the students one of these days so I can find out what, exactly, it is that I do that they love so much. It may help me improve as a teacher. But there are some students who seem to hate me on sight. They become argumentative and disrespectful, and they ignore all the directions they are given. I encountered many like this throughout the day. It was a bit disheartening. Even more disheartening was when I had two girls loudly proclaim that they hate me because I am so mean. I guess I was being mean. After all, I am the one who took their tests away when they were talking (which is exactly what I said would be the result of talking during a test). I also wouldn’t let them talk and play around in the library. How cruel I am!

The strange thing is that none of my students seem to be ambivalent toward me. They either love me or hate me. Everyone in the last class of the day seemed to be in the former category. These were also the most well-behaved students of the day. I think it is interesting that well-behaved students are the ones who always say how awesome I am, while the ones who hate me are the ones who are often misbehaving and getting in trouble–not just from me, but from all of their teachers. I am not saying the correlation is implying causation. Just that there is an interesting correlation to be observed.

Ah well. I guess I can’t win ’em all. I don’t really care if a student says he or she hates me, though. I know that they are actually responding to the situation, not me. And I know that they are still growing up and learning to understand themselves and the rules of society. So I’ll take the verbal abuse and the dirty looks, just as long as I also get the high fives, fist bumps, and notes saying how much they like me.

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